Activist-doctor bares death threats
MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines College of Medicine (UPCM) assistant professor Gene Nisperos shared that he received death threats against himself and his family on Tuesday, October 22.
Nisperos, who has been vocal against “repressive and anti-people” government policies online and in mobilizations, received two text messages from an unidentified number on Monday night and Tuesday morning threatening him and his family.
“Alam ko ang condo mo. (I know your condo.) We will get your family one by one. You are dead by... Including your children and wife,” said one text message.
“You and your wife Dr julie was [sic] very arrogant to challenge us to line up in gov’t hospital. Both of you will line up with cotton in your nostrills [sic] in due time,” said another message from the same number.
Nisperos received the text messages after he joined a rally at the lobby of the Philippine General Hospital on Monday, demanding a P10-billion budget for the public hospital.
UP Manila statement
Nisperos said he was worried for his family.
“I am deeply concerned that this is happening to me, mainly because they are threatening my family, even though my children has nothing to do with whatever irked the sender of the death threat, who is obviously a supporter of the current regime and a rabid anti-communist,” said Nisperos.
His wife Julie Caguiat, who is also a medical doctor, was part of the health workers’ group that challenged government officials on October 18 to admit themselves in public hospitals “to experience the situation of Filipino patients.”
UP Manila issued a statement on Tuesday, condemning the death threats and vowing to never tolerate this “viciousness” against a member of their community.
The All UP Academic Employees Union (AUAEU) in UP Manila also denounced the threats and called for an end to all forms of “state-led” harassment and violence.
“If this is an attempt to sow fear among teachers and unionists who assert their rights and fight gor a higher state subsidy for social services such as education and health, our Union will not tremble in the face of vicious repressive measures and increasingly fascist attacks by this administration,” said AUAEU-Manila.
‘Culture of violence, impunity’
“Hindi na nakakagulat na sa ganitong panahon, pati doktor gustong patayin. Mula magsasaka at manggagawa hanggang lawyers at human rights defenders... wala naman pinipili ang mga mamamatay-tao ngayon,” said Nisperos.
(It is no longer surprising how today even doctors are threatened with death. From farmers and workers to lawyers and human rights defenders... killers commit murder indiscriminately.)
“At lalo silang naging lantaran at mapangahas dahil mismo sa pananalita ng pangulo ng bansa,” added Nisperos. (And they have become more brazen and daring due to the President’s aggressive language.)
The doctor said the threats result from the prevailing culture of intolerance for critical thinking and dissent.
Over the weekend, a viral cheerdance performance from UP Visayas struck a nerve with President Rodrigo Duterte supporters, which led to online threats and harassment against the student-performers.(READ: #HandsOffSkimmers: UP community slams attacks vs students, faculty behind viral cheer routine)
“Kailan pa naging mali na maningil sa pamunuan ng bansa? (When has it ever been wrong to seek accountability from the leaders of the land),” asked Nisperos. – Rappler.com